Is Maladaptive Behavior Normal?

Psychologists often describe these behaviors as maladaptive to indicate that they are not beneficial in any way but rather are destructive. Read on to find out more about the reasons why someone might behave in such a hurtful way and what you can do to help them.

What is Maladaptive Behavior?

Disadaptive behavior is a destructive kind of behavior either to the person behaving in this way or to those around them. It is not always the case that someone is evil or intentionally trying to harm you — they may simply not realize it. 

First, someone may be engaging in self-destructive behavior – that is, actively harming themselves. This could be anything from intentionally harming one’s body to risky behavior that could lead to serious health problems. 

Disadaptive behavior can also be “interpersonal” that means when someone harms others. This can manifest in a variety of ways, such as verbal or emotional abuse, stalking, or other harmful behaviors toward others.

Why Do People Behave Maladaptively?

There are many reasons why people behave in self-destructive ways. They complain about everything, constantly attack those who have had any success, and constantly tell you how terrible or hopeless everything is. You might be tempted to think that these are just terrible people. 

However, it is quite possible that this person is actually very unhappy with their situation, and their constant negativity is an attempt to elevate themselves at the expense of putting others down. They “win” by gaining self-respect by putting others down and getting an excuse for not being able to improve themselves.

How Can You Help Someone Who Behaves Maladaptively?

When you encounter maladaptive behavior, it is important to first try to empathize with the person. Well, you can tell them that you understand how they feel and what they are going through. Or you can ask them questions, such as, “Why do you feel you need to act this way?” or “What do you hope to accomplish with this behavior?” 

Helping someone who is behaving in a maladaptive way can be difficult because they may not realize what they are doing and may not want your help. However, the most important thing is to be patient with them. Each person has their own way, and they are likely to deal with their problems in their own way. 

If you approach them with an understanding heart and an open mind, there is a good chance that you can help them deal with what makes them behave in a detrimental way and come out the other side feeling better.

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